1900: Art at the Crossroads

1900: Art at the Crossroads


May 19-September 13, 2000

Organized by the Guggenheim Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, this exhibition surveys the year 1900, providing a radical reassessment of artistic cross-currents at the turn of the century. The exhibition features works by established artists and great masters of the period, including Bouguereau, Burne-Jones, Degas, Eakins, Gauguin, Klimt, and Munch, as well as artists who were just emerging as revolutionary figures, such as Balla, Kandinsky, Matisse, Mondrian, and Picasso. These works are presented alongside the paintings and sculptures of lesser-known artists whose achievements are only now being acknowledged. Such a dialogue will expand the debate about the development and definition of twentieth-century art.

The exhibition will open with an evocative display of works actually shown at the Exposition Décennale des Beaux-Arts, which was presented at the Grand Palais, Paris, during the World's Fair in 1900. The works of art in this section will be hung "salon" style, both to convey the typical mode of presentation in the year 1900 and to represent a broad range of subjects and styles. The exhibition features a cross-section of artists from Europe and the United States, as well as from Japan, Mexico, and Australia.

The exhibition is organized around a series of thematic groupings, including Nudes and Bathers; Portraits; Social Scenes; The City; Interiors; Landscape; and Triptychs. These will provide a framework for exploring broad, underlying themes that are key to the period, such as nationalism, Arcadian nostalgia, the distinction between public and private, the impact of technology, the industrial revolution, new research into psychology, and the retreat from positivism.

The exhibition will examine how, in 1900, certain traditions of Western art were being confirmed, while others were being reinvented. The section on religion, for example, will present paintings that carry on longstanding European traditions, alongside others that are cast in a decidedly modern idiom; representations of women will range from the femme fatale to the idealized mother; domestic scenes will include both conventional genre depictions and psychologically charged interiors. A gallery devoted to triptychs will demonstrate how this format continued to serve its traditional religious function, but was also adapted to modern subjects. Within each section, the juxtaposition of works by established and avant-garde artists will suggest unexpected affinities.

1900: Art at the Crossroads has been organized by Robert Rosenblum, Stephen and Nan Swid Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; MaryAnne Stevens, Education Secretary and Chief Curator, Ann Dumas, Curator, and Norman Rosenthal, Exhibitions Secretary, Royal Academy of Arts, London; and Vivien Greene, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. It travels to the Guggenheim Museum from the Royal Academy of Arts, London, where it will be on view January 15 through April 3, 2000.

A fully illustrated catalogue published jointly by the Royal Academy of Arts and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will accompany the exhibition. It will include essays by Robert Rosenblum and MaryAnne Stevens.

Funding: 1900: Art at the Crossroads is sponsored by Delta Air Lines.

November 15, 1999


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Telephone: (212) 423-3840

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E-mail: bennis@guggenheim.org


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